Issue 9’s Contest Theme: Escape

I drink whiskey to escape. Irish whiskey (Jameson in particular) by preference, which makes me less of a man than a bourbon drinker, but less of a depraved sociopath than a scotch drinker. Nothing serious, and not all the time, but just to temporarily escape daily stresses most of us have: shitty job, the future, etc. 

This magazine itself began as a form of escape three years ago (happy birthday to she). I figured that if I’m not writing, I needed to be doing something relevant to publishing. Why not help other people along the path to publication? I get to read other people’s work, an intimate form of snoopery that I find delightful, and get to share the best of what I find.

And here we are, nine issues and dozens of poems and stories later. It’s proven to be an escape that’s brought me a lot of joy, pride, and entertainment. Certainly, it’s been easier on my liver. So, I think this contest theme will be escape. Any way you want to look at it, literally, loosely, whatever. 

The rules: Everything listed on the submissions page, plus an adherence to the theme of escape. The deadline, just like the regular submission deadline, is October 1. 

The prizes: $20 to the winner for best story, $20 to the best poem., and a copy of the issues to each as well.

Finally, since I’m such a slackass, if you’ve submitted already this period, you can submit something else if  it applies to the theme. 

Good luck everyone, and please keep the submissions a’rollin.


Issue 8 is available for purchase!

This is Issue 8 (click to buy):

Bop Dead City Issue 8 Cover Picture

This is you:



Issue 9’s submission period starts August 1. You want to know how awesome we are? Buy Issue 8.


And now I’ll shut up.

We’ve Got Issue 8 Covered

With a little help from Kathy Rudin ( who submitted art to us, which meant I didn’t have to scour DeviantArt for some for once), we’ve got us a fine cover for our eighth issue.

Bop Dead City Issue 8 Cover Picture

Kathy is an artist from New York City, and the title of the photograph is “Untitled (Mary).”

The issue itself should be forthcoming, maybe as early as Monday. We’ll update when it’s available for purchase.

In the meantime, keep honing your stories and sharpening your poems; Issue 9’s submission period starts in less than two weeks.

The Starting Lineup for Issue 8 is…

First up, the winners of Issue 8’s “First Time” Contest:

For our blue-ribbon poem, we’ve got Sarah-Jean Krahn with “Journal of Dead Bodies and Hidden Treasures.” Very beautiful and moving, and one of the more interesting forms we’ve ever published.

And the winning story is Emily Rose Cole and her micro fiction piece “Mama.” Just a hundred words, but they’re all perfect. She actually submitted a day before we closed up for the period, so this is also vindication for the last-minute folks out there as well.

Filling out our Issue 8 team is:

Michelle Watters – “Eyes like the sky”
Matt Dennison – “Sunshine” (very glad to finally get to publish Matt on his sixth go-around, even though the poem makes me want to cry)
Art Heifetz – “My First Playmate” (long time readers might remember Art from Issue 5, making him our first two-time author)
J. Edward Kruft – “Heck Street”
Jay Duret – “Finny Chinook”

Thanks to all our authors! Later this week we’ll have cover art, and then soon after you’ll be able to purchase a copy of Issue 8 and read all these lovely works of art. Till then, don’t do anything stupid.

Battle “First Time” is OV-AH! … And We’ve Been Critiqued!

Or at least that’s what I think they say on the old Iron Chef. Anyway, thanks to everyone for your submissions; you can stop now, at least for another thirty days. We’ll be updating here regarding Issue 8, including authors, contest winners, cover art, and when you can buy your copy.

In the meantime, Bop Dead City’s last issue was recently reviewed on, a lovely site that offers a virtual newsstand of literary journals like us, reviews, and calls for submissions. Melanie Tague had many nice things to say, mostly about poems and stories themselves, which is the way it should be. Mostly she calls us humble a lot, which is true and a very beautiful way of saying “shoddily produced by an amateur.” Ruben Rodriguez and Nancy Hightower get specific shoutouts for their work. Read all about it here:

Interview with Nancy Hightower

Last one for Issue 7, folks. We’re working on three days until the submission period closes now, so hurry the hell up or else you’ll have to wait a whole month to submit.

Here’s Nancy, author of the poem “The Forgetting (Bathsheba’s Lament).”

photo by April O Bergeler

Tell me about your poem “The Forgetting (Bathsheba’s Lament).”

The poem was inspired by the story of King David, when he’s gotten so old that he has trouble keeping warm. His officials bring him a young virgin tend to him, although he’s so old he can’t even have sexual relations with her. But I always wondered what Bathsheba thought of the whole situation. Bathsheba was the “great” love of his life—he broke all the rules for her and her second son was Solomon, who went on to rule. So, it’s all about seeing your body being replaced with a younger model.

What or who inspires you to write?

I’m not sure “inspired” is the best term, since often, one has to write when there is NO inspiration—they have to make it.
But other times, I would say certain stories resonate with me—such as those written by Flannery O’Connor and Franz Kafka. I love their surreal worlds and try to incorporate that strange otherness in my short stories and poetry.

Do you have a blog/website?
Yes, it’s

Where can we read you next?
I have a poetry collection coming out with Port Yonder Press later this year, plus some poems coming from Stone Highway Review and Forge Journal.

What are you working on right now?
A short fiction collection, called Kinds of Leaving. In these stories, the landscapes come alive in various ways. I am very much tied to sense of place—I’ve lived in the South, near the Four Corners area in Colorado, and now New York City. Those spaces and places seep into you.

Any advice for other writers?
I’m not one of those writers who write every day, but I would say that writers should always keep what they’re writing on the back burner. Always be jotting down notes or phrases you want to expand on.

Interview with Sarah Ann Winn

Sarah Ann Winn won our 2nd Annual Flash Poetry Contest with her poem “Sargasso Sea,” got published, and pocketed $20. You want twenty whole dollars too, and the dubious honor of publication in Bop Dead City? You’ve got less than a week to submit your best story or poem about the first time you…well, anything.

Hurry up.

Describe your work in 25 words or less.
I think my poems are all a variety of being carried away with an idea, usually in the direction of “what could be.”

Tell me about your poem “Sargasso Sea.”
“Sargasso Sea” is the result of a prompt I was given in a class that required us to write 79 poems in a semester. This prompt gave the title, and suggested it be a certain number of lines. (I’ve since forgotten the full constraint.) I’d been doing a lot of reading about the plant life in the ocean, and that one struck me as full of mythic potential. I wanted to write a poem that used the ocean references in a fresh way, hoping for a sort of image echo between the massive drift of weeds and a field of grazing horses on a cloudless day.

Is this your first time winning a writing contest? How does it feel?
The same day I won this contest, I received notice that I’d won the Virginia Downs Poetry contest, and I’d never won a writing contest before. I was awarded the Completion Fellowship at George Mason for my final year there, but an individual work being recognized feels much more affirming!

What or who inspires you to write?
I’ve always loved to write, and have a daily routine to keep the inspiration close at hand. I also read widely, and when I start to struggle for inspiration, I grab my camera and go for a drive. Something about the somewhat mindless activity of driving combined with the search for something to frame pulls the poems a little closer. I find a lot of inspiration in conversations with my husband, who watches a lot of news stories. He always has something strange to share that gets me scribbling.

What authors have influenced you as a writer?
Elizabeth Bishop, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Federico Garcia Lorca, Marge Piercy, Margaret Atwood, Rebecca Solnit, Natalie Goldberg, E.B. White, Mark Doty – the list is enormous. I have always loved to read, and as a children’s librarian, I return to the ones I loved growing up, so they continue to shape my writing now. Of course the authors who have had the most direct hand in shaping me as a writer are my teachers. Their encouragement and guidance have shaped my poems and my poetics, particularly Jennifer Atkinson, Eric Pankey and Judyth Hill.

Do you have a blog/website?
I do! I post writing prompts and photos about once a month at

Where can we read you next?
My poem “The Horsehead Nebula” is in the current issue of Stirring. I have a particular fondness for this one, because it was written right after “Sargasso Sea,” and uses the form of a beautiful in-law (which requires every word in the poem to come from the letters in the title). I also have upcoming poems in [d]ecember and the Massachusetts Review.

What are you working on right now?
I’m working on poems which I hope will become my second book. They’re inspired by my love of children’s literature, especially stories I read as a child. My manuscript, entitled “Variable Stars” is submitted all around the web, and I have high hopes that it’ll get picked up.

Any advice for other writers?
Don’t take rejection personally, and read as much as you can! Also, if you don’t already have one, find a group online or offline who will be with you in your submission highs and lows. I’m part of a great group on Facebook, who cheer me on, and boo and hiss at Tuesday (rejection day).

Anything else you’d like to say?
Thank you for the opportunity, and I’m happy to have had the thrill of my first contest winner with Bop Dead City!


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